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No. No, that is not our way. I regret that we meet in this way. You and I are of a kind. In a different reality, I could have called you "friend."
~ The Romulan Commander, to Kirk, after his ship is crippled by the Enterprise

The Romulan Commander is an unnamed antagonist who appears in the Star Trek franchise, serving as the main antagonist of the TOS episode "Balance of Terror". An alternate timeline version of him appeared in the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode A Quality of Mercy.

He was originally portrayed by the late Mark Lenard, and by Matthew MacFadzean in SNW.


A veteran of past military operations for the Romulan Star Empire, this nameless Romulan had grown weary of battle by the time of his final mission, believing that enough lives had been sacrificed for the sake of galactic conquest.

In 2266, he commanded a Bird-of-Prey on a mission to field-test a cloaking device as well as a new weapon. The Romulan starship destroyed numerous Federation outposts along the Romulan Neutral Zone, leading to a fateful confrontation with the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) in which the Romulans' nature as an off-shoot of the Vulcans was revealed to the Federation.

During his ship's encounter with the Enterprise, the Romulan Commander was impressed with Captain James T. Kirk's tactics. At one point, he tried to have his ship return to Romulus, only to be stopped by the Enterprise; this led to a final battle in which the Bird-of-Prey was severely damaged. Wounded, he made contact with the Enterprise to express his admiration of Kirk's abilities, even remarking that, had things been different, they could have been friends. He then destroyed his own ship to prevent capture by the Enterprise.

Alternate Timelines

In a timeline where Captain Christopher Pike had warned others about what would happen on the J-class training ship in 2266, while the accident still occured neither he nor anyone else was injured or killed in the accident. Pike remained in command of the Enterprise through 2266. In this timeline the Praetor sent the Commander through the Neutral Zone to attack Federation outposts.

Much like before the Commander attacked several Federation outposts, destroying them and also engaged the Enterprise. Pike, however, was able to get him to agree to a brief cease fire. Unfortunately his Sub-Commander signaled the Romulan fleet and the Praetor arrived with her fleet. Feeling that the Commander needed to be made an example of, she ordered the Bird-of-Prey to go off on its own, after which the Praetor and her fleet destroyed the Commander and his ship. Before he died, the Commander expressed regret to Pike that they had met in that manner and had things been different they could have been friends.

The disastrous contact led to extended war between the Federation and the Romulan Empire, a war that caused millions of deaths and last decades. Sometime later, Admiral Pike was able to obtain a time crystal, which he used to convince his younger self to accept his destiny and not warn the others about the future.


Danger and I are old companions.
~ To centurion
No need to tell you what happens when we reach home with proof of the Earthmen's weakness. And we will have proof. The Earth commander will follow. He must. When he attacks, we will destroy him. Our gift to the homeland: Another war.
~ To centurion
Must it always be so? How many comrades have we lost in this way?
~ To centurion
Obedience. Duty. Death and more death. Soon, even enough for the Praetor's taste. Centurion, I find myself wishing for destruction before we can return. Worry not. Like you, I am too well-trained in my duty to permit it.
~ To centurion, expressing his weariness with battle
How pleasing to the eye it is. Behold, a marvel in the darkness.
No. No, he's shrewd, this starship commander. He tries to make us waste energy. He has estimated we have only enough.
~ Assessing Kirk's tactics
Forgive me, my old friend, but I must use all my experience now to get home.
~ To centurion's dead body
He is there, somewhere. I feel it.
~ To Decius
He's a sorcerer, that one. He reads the thoughts in my brain. Our fuel supply all but gone and he stays out of reach.
~ To Decius, on Kirk
We are creatures of duty, Captain. I have lived my life by it. Just one more duty to perform.
~ The Romulan commander's last words to Kirk, before destroying his own ship


  • He is based off of U-boat Captain von Stolberg from the 1957 film The Enemy Below, which Balance of Terror is based on.
    • Unlike the Romulan commander, von Stolberg survives the film and both the American destroyer escort and the German submarine are sunk.
  • His actor, the late Mark Lenard went on to play Sarek, Spock's father.
    • Lenard also played a Klingon captain whose ship falls victim to V'Ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
    • In the novel Sarek Spock once told his father of his strong resemblance to the Romulan commander. The resembelence between the two men was also noted in the Star Trek Myriad Universes novel A Less Perfect Union, with the commander telling Lady T'Pol that he had not disguised himself and that the two men likely shared a common ancestor.
  • While the Romulan commander is never given a proper name in the episode, he is given the name "Keras" (a backwards spelling of "Sarek") in the TOS novel The Return written by William Shatner. Additionally, his granddaughter named Salatrel seeks vengeance on Kirk.


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Star Trek: The Motion Picture: V'Ger: Klingons ( Barak )
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Augments (Khan & Joachim)
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock: Klingons (Kruge, Torg, Maltz) | Valkris
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: Whale Probe | Kamarag
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier: The One | Klingons (Klaa & Vixis) | Sybok
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: Khitomer Conspiracy (General Chang, Nanclus, Valeris, Admiral Cartwright, Patrick West, Harlan Burke, Thomas Samno)
Star Trek Generations: Tolian Soran | Klingons (Lursa & B'Etor)
Star Trek: First Contact: The Borg (Borg Queen)
Star Trek: Insurrection: Son'a (Ahdar Ru'afo & Gallatin) | Matthew Dougherty
Star Trek: Nemesis: Remans (Shinzon, Viceroy, Tal'aura, Suran & Donatra)
Star Trek (2009): Romulans (Nero & Ayel)
Star Trek Into Darkness: Khan | Alexander Marcus
Star Trek Beyond: Krall | Manas | Kalara

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